Copper and climate change
Copper is essential to the way we live. It brings clean water, energy and information to every corner of the globe. It is a crucial component of energy-efficient transportation, infrastructure and industry, and it’s considered by many to be the foundation of the new “green” economy.
The red metal is one of the few materials that can be 100 percent recycled with no change in its performance.
It is one of the best conductors of heat and electricity on the planet, so the things that contain copper tend to operate more efficiently and are more environmentally friendly.
Green buildings use copper in everything from electrical wiring and piping to new, energy-efficient appliances. Copper is also a key component in new, cleaner ways to produce energy and reduce greenhouse gases. A single industrial-sized wind turbine requires more than two tons of copper, while solar energy systems rely on it to make photovoltaic cells more reliable and efficient. On average, renewable energy systems require four to twelve times more copper per kilowatt than traditional power generation.
The bottom line: copper is making us more energy efficient and making a difference in climate change. Producing ton of copper emits 3.5 tons of CO2 on average. But in energy-efficient applications – which account for 70 percent of copper used today – that ton of copper will save between 100 and 7,500 tons of CO2 from going into our atmosphere, and reduce energy costs by $25,000 and $2.5 million.